I’ve Been In Your Shoes: Are You Ready to Return Home?￼
By Devin. D. Coleman
The End of Sentence (EOS) date is one of the most awaited days for a person behind bars. It’s the day that begins life in the free world. But are you really ready to return home? The answer to this question is not always yes.
What It’s Like To Return Home
While the EOS date is welcome and anticipated, it can also be stressful. Any time spent behind “bars,” no matter the length, is life-changing. Removal from family is traumatic, and the trauma often goes unaddressed.
There is also a culture shift. Correctional institutions often are societies within society. They have a separate hierarchy, customs and culture. For days, months or even years, you have adapted to survive “inside.” As you leave prison, you pause, take a deep breath and think. “What am I going to do now?”
One of the most important things you can do is be patient with yourself. Life is about to come at you fast, and you will not have all the answers. Take a moment to adjust to the free world. Get out and explore while getting used to controlling your movements and schedule.
Also, realize you’re a new person. You’ve changed. Identify what you like and don’t like. Try new things. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers today. But you should be in search of them.
Being Ready To Return Home Takes Courage
Take a look at your family structure. Many times our family is our biggest supporters. Yet our actions may have hurt our family members as well. Do you need to repair or rebuild relationships with key family members? If so, do it.
Remember to be as patient with your family as you want them to be with you. Your return, while welcome, is a culture shift for them as well. Take the time to get to know them all over again and allow them to get to know you as well.
You’re courageous, right? Good, because the next step will need a new form of courage from you. The courage to be vulnerable.
People have been conditioned to believe that to be strong we must act as if we have everything all figured out. That we can handle life’s challenges on our own. This isn’t true, and it isn’t healthy.
Vulnerability is the ability to be honest about your challenges and struggles. If expressed, it will allow you to get the help you need to get back on your feet. For example, if you need help getting a job, asking for help creating a resume is a form of vulnerability.
You need to understand that it’s normal to be nervous about your release, so be patient with yourself. Relationships will be essential to your success, so build them. Start with family and friends. While building these relationships, open up about what you’re going through. How will you get the help you need if you don’t ask for it?